The casualties of cost-cutting: rookie CRNA midlevel in charge of colonoscopy case that went horribly wrong

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Beaumont Health and NorthStar (DeathStar?) Anesthesia clearly have their priorities straight.

Starkman: Beaumont Hospital Staffers Horrified After Patient Dies Undergoing Routine Colonoscopy

Wow...where do we even start with this one? This excellent piece of investigative journalism is a damning indictment of not only the dangers of putting undertrained and underqualified midlevels in critical positions, but also of the dangers of cost-cutting when it directly impacts patient care at the bedside. How in the world could a 51-year old patient die during a routine procedure like a colonoscopy?! Apparently, if we follow Beaumont's example, one method is to hire a corporate-managed anesthesia group known for cutting corners and putting midlevel nurse anesthetists with less than five years of experience in charge of high-risk cases such as an obese patient (probably ASA class III or IV). Apparently the actual anesthesiologist (we refuse to use the term "MD anesthesiologist") wasn't that qualified either, because somehow they botched the re-intubation too.

The patient who died

Starkman: Remembering Richard Curbelo Who Died Undergoing Beaumont Colonoscopy

As the article states, "NorthStar [later] sent out a system-wide communique from chief compliance officer Sandra Geary saying an “investigation” is underway to identify “the origin” of Deadline Detroit's report and warned that those involved could face disciplinary actions, as well as regulatory fines and litigation...Geary’s communique contained no acknowledgment and expressed no sympathy for Curbelo or his family."

Apparently, Sandra's 30 years of experience didn't include any training in basic human empathy.

Moral of the story? Whatever you do, try not to end up being a patient in the Beaumont Health system. And when undergoing any procedure that requires anesthesia, always, always ask for an anesthesiologist, i.e. a physician.